French Open 2019: Rafael Nadal beats German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann in first round

Defending champion Rafael Nadal beat German qualifier Yannick Hanfmann in straight sets to reach the French Open second round.

The second seed, chasing a record-extending 12th Roland Garros title, beat the world number 180 6-2 6-1 6-3.

After saving four break points in the first game, 17-time Grand Slam winner Nadal dominated throughout.

The 32-year-old won his first title since August at the Italian Open earlier in May.

Nadal will face German qualifier Yannick Maden in the second round.

Despite dominating clay-court tournaments in the build-up to the French Open in previous years, the win in Rome was Nadal’s only 2019 final on the red dirt.

But, after a slow start in the opening game, the Spaniard looked increasingly comfortable on his favourite surface as he claimed the first set.

Hanfmann won just one point in the first three games of the second, but recovered to hold his next service game.

Nadal soon got another break to go 5-1 up, though, and quickly wrapped up the second set.

The German 27-year-old showed impressive composure as he saved two break points at 1-1 in the final set, but Nadal was successful on his third attempt.

The two-time Wimbledon champion increased the pressure at 5-3 to break Hanfmann’s serve again and close out the match.

Elsewhere, French world number 43 Pierre-Hugues Herbert gave the home crowd something to cheer about when he came from two sets down to beat Russian 12th seed Daniil Medvedev 4-6 4-6 6-3 6-2 7-5.

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